Sometimes the scariest falls aren’t way above your last piece, but way to the side of them. Such is the case here.
Canadian climber Stu Smith recently made the first ascent of E.M.U.B.I.G.S (short for “Everyone’s Moving Up But I’m Going Sideways”), a 30-meter 5.13c/d R at the Malamute, in Squamish, B.C., Canada.
The “R” comes right near the end. The pitch, Smith writes to Rock and Ice, “climbs a 5.12- vertical dyke to join a horizontal seam through a slightly overhung polished wall. The seam builds in difficulty to the very end. Minimal to no feet and finicky small gear, the last of which being a flared small blue alien a fair distance from the anchor.”
Smith continues, “If that piece blows you deck.”
Smith worked on the route for four months, and in the end, the “mental game” of pulling hard above marginal gear was the greatest challenge. “As soon as the last piece was placed my nerves would shut me down,” he says, “until I came at it with a different head space [of] ‘it is what it is, it’s rad, have fun.'”
Fun? If cold fear is your idea of fun, then sure. Rad? Most definitely.
Happy Friday and climb safe this weekend.